Gary Liebisch has been in broadcast engineering for over 40 years.

Gary joined Nautel in April of 2007, as the Eastern U.S. Regional Sales Manager, has served on the Board of Directors for the Society of Broadcast Engineers from 2008-2012, and is a Lifetime Certified Professional Broadcast Engineer.

He has held the title of Chief Engineer and Group Director of Engineering for stations in Spartanburg, SC, Raleigh, NC and Cincinnati, Ohio, and holds Amateur Radio call W8GEL.

Read more Digital Radio ShowcaseHD Radio DRM logos

by Gary Liebisch

 
HD Radio is on the move in Canada. Canadian stations, both AM and FM, have been embracing HD Radio conversion at a healthy rate. While US stations seek to prop AM signals with translators, many Canadian stations have opted to simulcast their AM’s as an FM-HD multicast. The primary motivation here is superior downtown building penetration relative to the originating AM signal, and generally a wider coverage area than a low power translator. Of course the down side is fewer receivers in the short term. The philosophy here seems to be that the receiver scarcity is solving itself over time as newer automobiles replace old. Corus Radio, which owns 39 stations in Canada, operates with several such AM to HD multicast signals in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver. Corus relates that the technology addresses AM reception problems effectively, adds the extra channels and on-screen program information that this format supports, and is in line with what the U.S. is doing. Corus also has partnered with the Broadcast Traffic Consortium (BTC) in the US to provide HERE Radio HD Traffic in selected Canadian metros. Elsewhere in Canada, Bell Media, also a major group owner, has begun rolling out HD Radio AM simulcasts and has aligned itself with iHeart Media in the US for its HD Radio traffic distribution system. Smaller broadcasters, including Byrnes Communications, Durham Radio and ethnic broadcasters are using multicasting to reach multi-language communities in the greater Toronto area.
 

HD Radio in Canada is authorized through experimental licenses. Although all three of Canada’s major group owners – Corus, Bell and Rogers – have taken advantage of the technology, Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada (ISED) has yet to formally adopt HD Radio as a digital standard. But with HD ready new cars coming from the US hitting the roads here, the relatively late adoption, albeit experimental up to now, doesn’t face the “zero receivers” problem that the US struggled with 10 years ago.

2017 has turned into a “breakout” year for worldwide spread of the medium wave DRM digital standard. Recent successful trials in Indonesia, South Africa, Brazil and India coupled with commercial receiver introductions have given DRM a brighter future than it has seen in recent years. As reported here, India has the most aggressive roll-out of DRM deployment with six new Nautel high power transmitters shipped last month, bringing the total to 33 covering 92% of Indian territory and 99% of its population. Read more at nautel.com/billion
 

There is good news on the receiver side as well, with DRM capable receivers now appearing in passenger vehicles sold in India. Those receivers use a chip manufactured by NXP. Consumer receivers for DRM are also proliferating with a new mass produced table model by Gospell (China), the GR216, and an SDR model, the Titus II. At the upcoming IBC Show in Amsterdam (Sept 15-19), four DRM events are scheduled, including the first by a receiver manufacturer, Gospell, and an annual event sponsored by Nautel.

Acknowledgments: Gary Manteuffel (Director, Canada, US National Accounts) also contributed to this article.
HD Radio is a registered trademark of DTS Inc.


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